Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Key to Introducing a New Section of Content

Textbooks are essentially a collection of discrete sections of content.Take a chapter on, say, medical records in a doctor's office.

First comes an introductory section that provides an overview of the topic. From there will come a series of headings, each announcing what's to come in that section.

The key to writing that little introductory section is to write it first and last.

Here's what I mean.

Write It First

Take a stab at what you'll be covering in the section to come. Then pay it no mind.

Write the rest of the section. Put in all your subheadings, bulleted lists, and whatever else is required to cover the content.

Then go back to the intro.

Write It Last

Now rewrite your intro, listing or otherwise addressing each major subsection in order of appearance. That's important; it helps the reader focus on what's to come.

My guess is that your original sequence wasn't terribly close to the final sequence.

So by just throwing down an intro, planning all along to return to it, you'll free yourself to write the really good stuff. And after finishing the content section and revising the intro, you'll have the perfect setup for the reader.

So go forth! And then back again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

When There's Too Much to Do to Write

My to-do list right now is absurd. I mean, really? All this in that short amount of time? And I'm supposed to write a blog too?


That's where I am right now. Luckily I know how to get out of this utter mess with minimal stress. Here's what I do; maybe it will help you too.

#1 I clean my desk.

Seems simple but really, it works. I've got six books on my desk now that I've analyzing for competitive information. Off they go, into a pile on a table in my office. Yes, they're still in a pile, but they're off my desk, and for now, that's what counts.

I've got a bunch of papers all over the desk, papers I'll use to complete a task, so they're important. But they're not prioritized in any way. So...

#2 I prioritize.

I'll collect all the papers and put them in a pile. Then I'll go through them with an eye toward prioritization.

After I've prioritized the papers, I'll plunk them in a stack next to my computer. I've got higher priority items to complete before I hit this pile, but at least now I can see how big the pile is and can attack it the moment I finish those other critical tasks.

#3 I relax.

That's pretty much all you can do when you've got too much to do and write what you know you need to write.

Hey, wait a minute. I've just written a blog, my desk is reasonably clear, and I've got a clear idea of what to do next.

It worked!